A Colorful, Thrifty Toronto Home

published Dec 6, 2015
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft
Post Image
(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Name: Catherine Cachia and Lionel McDonald, their daughter, Winnie, and Griffey the dog
Location: East Danforth — Toronto, Ontario
Size: Approximately 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Instagram and mid-century modern couches brought Catherine and I together. Last summer, she left a comment on one of my pictures saying we had the exact same couch. I thought that was a big coincidence for a considerably vintage piece of furniture. Was she also in Ontario? I headed over to her bio and found out, to my delight, that she lived in Toronto. A quick look at Catherine’s profile and I was convinced: This East Danforth home was definitely House Tour material.

(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

When she’s not working in fundraising for the community arts development initiative SKETCH, Catherine indulges her passion for vintage clothing and DIY furnishings and projects. These interests inform much of the house’s personality. One of the upstairs rooms is a customized closet for Catherine’s impressive vintage collection, and the house is constantly evolving, thanks to DIY projects and thrift store explorations—all of which she writes about and photographs beautifully for her blog.

With the arrival of Catherine and Lionel’s daughter Winnie this fall, the home has undergone its most exciting transformation to date: Catherine transformed her art studio into the dreamiest nursery for Winnie! (You can see the transformation here!)

(Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage, colorful, and eclectic.

Inspiration: Lately, I’ve been super inspired by design bloggers. Some of my favorites right now are Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow, Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess, and Mandi Gubler of Vintage Revivals.

Favorite Element: The photo ledges above my sofa. I love how they allow me to switch up the artwork often to keep the space feeling fresh.

Biggest Challenge: Some of the rooms in our home are quite small, which makes arranging furniture challenging. Oh, and dog hair! It’s a constant battle but Griffey, our chocolate lab, is one thousand percent worth it.

What Friends Say: That my home is “so me.” Most people comment on how it’s a real eclectic mix of vintage and modern. My favorite compliment though, is when people say that it just “feels good” here. I like that one because I’m always aiming to create an inviting, comfortable space.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our out-of-control messy basement! It’s a real dumping ground for all things miscellaneous in our lives.

Proudest DIY: The finishings of our breakfast bar, which I worked on with my dad. The front surface is salvaged Ontario barn board and the table top surface is cement.

Biggest Indulgence: Our kitchen reno for sure. In particular, our quartz countertops and counter-depth fridge.

Best Advice: You can create consistency in a home without making everything match. Instead, choose a handful of colors you love and repeat them spontaneously throughout your home. If you’re tight on space, try putting your most beautiful clothes or shoes on display instead of hiding them all away in closets. This saves space, and decorating with your collections makes a space feel really personal. Another thing I do whenever I’m feeling like a space is very “blah” is remove everything from the room and then only put back things that I either really love or that serve a purpose. I get rid of everything else.

Dream Sources: One of these days I’m going to splurge on a Moroccan Boucherouite rug. They are so dreamy, but we just can’t justify that kind of money on a rug right now. But even if I was rich, I think I’d still be a die-hard thrifter. To me, it’s about the magical process of taking something discarded or forgotten and giving it a new, beautiful life.



  • All Walls: CIL Wedding White
  • Yellow door in living room (above): RONA Collection Banana Tree
  • Peach door in nursery: CIL brand Peach Medley
  • Turquoise door in bedroom: CIL brand Bali Hai
  • Green dresser in nursery: BEHR Winter Shamrock


  • Mirror: thrift store, repainted
  • Vintage book key holders: Arts Market
  • Vintage needlepoint art: Value Village
  • Everything on shelving (biscuits box, vintage tins, etc.): thrifted from different sources


  • Retro chrome dining set: Craigslist
  • Mid-century modern chair: Craigslist, reupholstered
  • Sewing machine: thrift store, repainted
  • CD cases: IKEA
  • Vintage tins (on top of CD cases): thrifted from different sources
  • Toronto poster: Ork Posters


  • Mid-century modern sofa: Kijiji
  • Vintage 1960s bar stools: Williams Design
  • Area rug: Urban Outfitters
  • Coffee table: DIY with legs from Hairpin Legs
  • Starburst clock: St. Lawrence Antique Market
  • 1960s citrus chair: BYOB Cocktail Emporium
  • Hanging planters: IKEA
  • Throw pillows: CB2
  • Kantha quilts: Anthropologie
  • Salvaged “CITY” letters: Biltmore Domicile
  • Art shelf/ledges: DIY project
  • Polaroid print: Yumalum on Etsy
  • Ice cream print: Aimee Bee Brooks
  • Black-and-white print: St. Lawrence Antique Market
  • Vintage bottles: thrifted
  • Cherry blossom photo: Catherine Cachia
  • Urban decay photo: Catherine Cachia


  • Cabinets: Home Depot
  • Fridge: Home Depot
  • Flooring: Home Depot
  • Vintage bottle collection: Craigslist, thrift stores
  • Canisters: thrifted
  • All other decor: thrifted


  • Lockers: Craigslist
  • Dresser: hand-me-down from my parents/grandparents
  • Dresser knobs: Anthropologie
  • Bay blanket: Salvation Army
  • Duvet: IKEA


  • Closet: custom DIY project that my dad built for me to store all my vintage clothing, which I sell at markets


  • Crib: hand-me-down from a friend
  • Dresser/changing table: hand-me-down from a friend
  • Rocking chair: hand-me-down from my parents
  • Pink rug: IKEA
  • Sheepskin throw: IKEA
  • Pink pillow: IKEA
  • Salvaged letters: St. Lawrence Antique Market
  • Bunting: DIY using vintage and new fabrics
  • Book shelf/ledges: DIY
  • Books: mostly thrifted
  • Yellow circle art: Lucky Jackson
  • Wooden toys: Ava’s Appletree
  • White lace curtains: IKEA
  • Vintage clothing collection: thrift stores, hand-me-downs
  • Baby sneaker collection: Foot Locker
  • Shelf with hanging clothing rack: DIY
1 / 37
Hi Griffey! (Image credit: Carmen Chavarri)

Send us your own:

Share your home with Apartment Therapy: House Tour Submission Form

Are you a designer/architect/decorator? Share your residential project: Professional Submission Form.

→ And see all of our past house tours here

Updated daily with fresh tours full of photos for you to pin & enjoy!

Thanks, Catherine & Lionel!